Trying to galvanise myself into writing a more normal blog since returning from my sad trip home to England has been a bit of a trial. Other people go about their business as normal but what’s normal? The world rants on about Donald Trump and Blooming Brexit and yet it all seems so far away and irrelevant from everything here. Although to some it might sound awful, I don’t really care about it. Both potential disasters, if that’s how you want to look at it, were voted for democratically and those that lost the vote should accept the result and give the winners a chance to prove themselves and do their job. That’s what I care about, the democratic process. Gosh, this is all a bit deep. Perhaps I should move onto lighter subjects!
I came home from England to the caravan to find the Kiwi and my Golden Girls in good heart. However I did have to spend two days dunging out the ‘van as it had become “the house of trouser and dogs” in my absence but the fridge was full so all was forgiven.
I should perhaps tell you a little about Farm No 4 which is situated 18kms to the south east of Dunkeld and from where we can just see Mounts Sturgeon and Abrupt. The landscape is quite flat but makes up for it with patches of the most magnificent and ancient Red Gum trees and of course the view of the mountains in the distance.
Farm No 4 is infact two farms totalling 6500 acres and is solely a livestock enterprise of 600 Black Angus beef cattle and 7000 sheep. The sheep are made up of Crossbred sheep bred for their meat and Merino’s for their wool. I know it is a huge mistake to name farm animals but we couldn’t resist naming a big fat lazy bull, Ferdinand. He even has a brand on his rump which looks like an on-off switch and he spends all his days sitting under a tree with his mates observing the world go by until he goes out with his girls again when presumably his switch is turned on!
The farm is in the process of being sold and we have been offered a job by the new owners. There is a house which goes with the job but we are not able to move into it until the sale completes at the end of March. A bit of a bore being so tantalisingly close to a proper kitchen and bathroom (but shush don’t tell anyone I have treated myself to the odd bath!)
Keeping busy is a good antidote to grief, so before I left for Blighty I set myself the task of getting our car which we imported from England back on the road. It had been sitting in a friends shed since it arrived in the middle of last year waiting for our return to Victoria. Well, what a ridiculously expensive, beaurecratic nightmare it was! First I had to find someone qualified to inspect the car for Australian road-worthyness, a simple MOT wouldn’t do and the nearest registered inspector was in Ballarat 150kms away. When I arrived I found he was just a bloke operating out of his home garage and to my astonishment he failed the car because it didn’t have a small yellow sticker on the inside of the petrol flap that said “Petrol Only” and he wouldn’t accept the Mercedes black sticker already on it. I was not permitted to print my own sticker, he insisted it had to be professionally printed and do you think I could find one? I went to the Mercedes garage and had a look at the inside all the new cars petrol flaps and they all looked the same as ours – apparently if someone is stupid enough to buy an imported car they may well also be stupid enough to put the wrong fuel in it. (But aren’t all cars imported into Australia?) I eventually found an appropriate sticker from a Toyota garage for 95c but they didn’t have it in stock and it had to be ordered. So a couple of days later another trip to 150km Ballarat and this time I was passed. But then the next drama unfolded. The inspector said I would have to wait for another yellow sticker to arrive in the post (about a two week wait) which had to be stuck in the engine bay before I could take the car to be registered at VicRoads. Oh no I thought I’ll sort this one out myself. I found the name of the firm that printed the sticker and asked very politely if they could print me one that afternoon but they were in Melbourne 300kms away. Ever determined I drove to Melbourne, got the sticker and the next day got the car registered complete with Chavvy Bling number plates.
Adventures with our car unfortunately don’t end there. Because of the lack of internet I had to drive to the Library in Hamilton to use their computers to check myself in for the flight back to Blighty. Having completed the job I was on my way home and set my cruise control for 115kms per hour. I had mistakenly assumed that all the roads in Victoria were the same 110km speed limit as those in WA and everyone there gets away with going just a tad over the limit. It was a clear blue afternoon, the road was dead straight for miles and there was not a vehicle insight. After a few minutes a grey car travelling in the opposite direction came towards me at speed and suddenly the stomach churning blue lights flashed at me and an arm appeared out of the window gesticulating at me to pull over. Not thinking I had done anything all that bad I wasn’t overly concerned until the Officer said “Madam, here is your infringement notice” I was horrified at its contents, a $300 fine and 3 points on my licence! I retorted back “It’s nothing more than a tax demand and you’re nothing better than a tax collector!” It appears that the speed limit is 100kms in the Eastern states apart from on the motorways and I now absolutely creep along, its sooo boring….
Whilst I was away the Kiwi answered an advertisement in the local paper placed by an artist from New South Wales looking for access onto properties to paint the views and the beautiful Red Gum trees. The mountains constantly change depending on the time of day, the light and the weather and they are an artists dream. The Kiwi and the artist, Ken Knight, got on like a house on fire and he seemed to be pleased with the views the Kiwi offered him. We had a very jolly supper and evening with Ken in the caravan discussing all things arty which made a change from sheep! Here’s a link to Ken’s website www.kenknight.com.au.
We had the great excitement of entertaining our first visitors from England last week. We arranged to meet our friends on the verandah of the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld. The hotel deeply reminds us of our much frequented hostelry, the Swan in Long Melford and since our arrival in Dunkeld have often imbibed the local brew, again, you’ve guessed it, looking at the view of the mountains! We were delighted see our Pommie Mates and to catch up on all their news. Not being able to offer them a bed we booked them into a converted Tobacco Kiln B&B run by some friends which some of you may remember from my first ever blog. Back in the caravan the next morning I cooked everyone a full English before bidding our welcome guests farewell.
The climate here in Victoria has been a little more temperate than that of scorching Western Australia which Daphne and Margot have appreciated. We have experienced some really rather British weather of late and Kiwi has to wear a thick wooly-pully in the chilly mornings but ends the day in short sleeves and his Oakley sunnies. The caravan has been getting a tad warm as on the last Friday before I left for the UK (Friday the 13th) a freak wind blew in without any warning and took our awning with it. We haven’t been able to get it fixed yet because we have pack the whole thing up to get the caravan to the menders which as you can imagine is a bit of task.
Meanwhile Skye and Cloud continue to grow enormously, here they are pretending to be grown up working dogs on the back of the Kiwi’s bike.
Well that’s about it really for this time. We’ve got the Dunkeld Rodeo in a couple of weeks to look forward to and we’ve been invited to our first dinner party!
To finally end here’s a photo the Kiwi took while I was away of the sunrise.